Change. Sometimes it’s easy. And sometimes ... well, you know how that goes. But how do you tackle change on a much grander, perhaps less “personal,” scale? That’s what locals have to look forward to this week, should they be up for the cause. It all unfolds in an outing that I find compelling. It’s dubbed “Change: Mobilizing the Historical Narrative.” It’s part of the Santa Cruz Next What’s NEXT Lecture Series (whatsnextlectures.com), which, if you haven’t already had the chance to experience, consider doing so soon. You can’t beat this innovative program designed to inspire and promote new thought, locally, and, of course, stimulate change—all by bringing engaging speakers to town. Sponsored by Monterey College of Law, this week’s titan is Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University. Some may recall Brinkley’s latest publications “The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom”or “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.” He’s also a New York Times bestselling author (“The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast”). There’s more—much more—but Brinkley’s astonishing birth of the “American Odyssey” is inspiring—he took students on cross-country treks where they visited historic sites and met seminal figures in politics and literature. Catch the man—his words, his vibe and more—at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 in the Humanities Lecture Hall (across from Bay Tree Bookstore) at UC Santa Cruz. Read the exclusive interview with GT online at goodtimessantacruz.com.
In the meantime, if you haven’t noticed, the beginning of the year is downright inspiring thus far. Last week, Santa Cruz Next unveiled The NEXTies and, just this week, we witnessed the Gail Rich Awards, which honored local arts champions Rose Sellery, Rick McKee, Bryn Loosley, Lori Rivera, Bob Barbour and T. Mike Walker.
Kudos to all these unique souls for knowing just the right way to inspire, and to give back to the community.
And then, there’s always”giving” to each other, which is what every marriage ought to be about, right? Speaking of ... dive into our annual Wedding Showcase.
Greg Archer | Editor-in-Chief
Letters to the Editor
It’s Not A Chore
I take exception to the reference to “chore workers” in the Jan. 4 Town Hall column with Supervisor Ellen Pririe to describe hard-working home care workers. The definition does not even come close to describing the work that I do as a home health care provider.
In March of 1997, my son fell from the Aptos Bridge, leaving him a quadriplegic and reliant upon a ventilator to breathe. Since that time, my husband and I have taken full care of him, with daily "chores" that include feeding him, administering medications, inserting a catheter for bladder release four times a day, suctioning his lungs through his tracheotomy, bathing and dressing him and using a sling to place him in his wheelchair.
I believe that defining my work as "chore" is incorrect. We provide inexpensive, quality care for many of our county's seniors and disabled citizens. Cutting our wages would only serve to hurt these patients, as many of these workers could no longer afford to work as a home care provider.
I am not a "chore" worker. I invite the supervisor to do a 24-shift in my shoes so that she can see for herself how the acute care I provide is not a "chore." Rather, what I provide is quality, caring care for some of the most vulnerable citizens in our county.
Making Huge Shifts
The shootings in Tucson are a dramatic reminder that we are one of the world’s most violent societies. Violence governs our foreign relations, our sports and video games, and our daily diet.
Yes, our diet. Desensitization to violence begins in the home, when parents assure their naturally inquisitive, animal-loving children that chickens "give" eggs, cows "give" milk, and that pigs "give" their flesh for us to eat. The horrific daily violence and barbaric slaughter visited on these innocent animals and subsidized by us at the checkout counter gets buried in our subconscious mind.
Once our kids have learned to live with the violence of their diet, how much of a stretch is it to while away their idle hours on video games like "Mortal Kombat," "Manhunt," or "Grand Theft Auto?" How likely is this experience, then, to govern how they resolve a social confrontation in their neighborhood or a military one in an Afghan village?
Most of us abhor violence, but we don’t know how to prevent it.
Giving our kids an honest answer when they ask "Mommy, where do hamburgers come from?" is certainly a great start.
I found it amazing that the Tea Party congress members have slowed down their zeal to repeal health care reform, to honor their colleague Gabrielle Giffords. Mental health has always been on the bottom rung of the ladder of our health care system, especially here in California, since when then Gov. Ronald Reagan closed the mental institutions, and now the homeless centers are full of the unbalanced, who continually harass the public. It’s now apparent that Jared Laugher was showing signs of mental impairment and no one, not even the police, decided to intervene. I believe now is the time to progress, not regress, health care reform to truly honor the victims of this tragedy.
Bruce M. Gabriel
Best of The Online Comments
On The NEXTies Winners
This is really awesome and refreshing. I feel like most of the time in Santa Cruz we celebrate the crazy people downtown (keep santa cruz weird) or dirtbag meth dealers (aka half of the pro-surfers in this town) for the sake of looking “cool.” Nice to see people getting recognition that actually do something to make Santa Cruz better instead of making themselves look better.
How exciting to see Analicia and Take Back Santa Cruz get the recognition they deserve! They are leading the charge for residents of all classes and colors to band together and empower themselves. Anyone who has taken the time to learn about TBSC knows it's no vigilante group, but that it is a group of caring, concerned SC citizens who want to raise expectations for responsibility and behavior in this town. It's about joining together to be part of the solution. If you are bad-mouthing TBSC, it's likely because you are part of the problem
On ‘Teenage Dream’
Carmen Kubas deserves a medal, not just a bunch of investors. Only in a world where we look out for all of our citizens are we really a whole society. Carmen seems to have perfectly blended her various life loves to help others who may well have fallen through the cracks of our system. What better life could you hope for than to help others while fulfilling your dreams and being successful at the same time. Thank you Carmen.
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